News • April 27, 2021

Students showcase films on the (inflatable) silver screen

Students showcase films on the (inflatable) silver screen

Riverside, Calif. (April 26, 2021) – Audience members attending the annual California Baptist University Student Film Festival on April 22 bundled up against the cool evening as they gathered to watch the films.

Last year, the film festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, 20 films were screened on an inflatable movie screen on the Mission Hall Lawn.

“It was great to have the festival again this year,” said Michael Eaton, professor of film studies. “For any filmmaker including student filmmakers, screening your work for audiences is crucial to creative and professional development.” 

The genres included thriller, Western, horror, comedy and music videos. The film “Surprise,” directed and written by Austen Heldoorn, won five awards, including Best Film. Heldoorn was also a producer, editor and actor in the dark comedy.

“I learned that rushing the process never promises the outcome you desire—it is OK to breathe and say, ‘Let’s try it a different way,’” said Heldoorn, a film senior. “This experience has been extraordinarily enlightening. I could not have done it without the cast and crew that weathered long nights and technical mishaps with me.”

Torrin Diaz, a film senior, said it was a great experience seeing his film on the big screen and watching films with an audience after a year of being away from movie theaters. He was director and editor on his film, “Sonoran,” which earned Best Editing and tied for Best Production Design.

“While shooting this project I learned a great deal about collaboration and communicating ideas with others,” Diaz said. “Maintaining a cohesive vision while expressing key aspects of performances with actors and technical decisions with crew can be overwhelming, but I had great support from them, and we all learned more about effective teamwork.”

Derrick Meese, a film senior, was writer, director and actor for “The Wind Howls.” He said he often mentally pictured shooting scenes a certain way, but on location the reality would be different for various reasons. When that happened, his crew and actors would have suggestions.

 “I cannot emphasize how great it was to work with such a wonderful team. I recommend all aspiring artists of any medium surround themselves with the most talented and passionate people they can find. If they do so they cannot help but be inspired,” Meese said.

Ellie Dickerson, a film junior, was director, producer and editor for “Sabotage.” She learned about the film production process and that she enjoys directing. She also was the cinematographer on “Surprise.”

“To anyone who wants to pursue filmmaking, go for it at full speed and endurance,” Dickerson said. “If it’s something that sets your soul on fire in the way that it does mine, you will see the rewards of following your heart and fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.”

Student Film Festival Awards
Best Film
First Place: “Surprise,” directed by Austen Heldoorn
Runner Up: “Spaghetti Rider,” directed by Josiah Murphy

Best Actor
Austen Heldoorn, “Surprise”

Best Actress
Taylor Thomas, “Sabotage

Best Supporting Actor
Ryan Lee, “Spaghetti Rider”

Best Music/Soundtrack
Dayton Goegebuer, “The Wind Howls

Best Cinematography
Ellie Dickerson, “Surprise”

Best Screenplay
Josiah Murphy, “Spaghetti Rider”
Austen Heldoorn, “Surprise”

Best Special/Visual Effects
Benjamin Morey, “Paperclip”

Best Editing
Torrin Diaz, “Sonoran

Best Production Design
“The Wind Howls,” Derrick Meese, Luke Brungardt, Mark Hamiter and Christian Spangler
“Sonoran,” Torrin Diaz
“Spaghetti Rider,” Josiah Murphy
“Surprise,” Tracey Grisham


Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504